The November mid-term elections are finally over, thankfully, and the seamless campaigning for the next election — the presidential election in 2012 — is now fully ramped up. Actually, one could easily make a provable-beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt case that electioneering for 2012 began on Nov. 5, 2008, the day after our current president won election.
You may have read Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement a week ago, when he explained the priorities of the next Congress: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Not jobs, not the deficit, not what to do about two ongoing and costly wars, not how to repair our aging infrastructure, not how to guide our nation’s economic growth with targeted tax credits, not ending tax cuts to companies that ship jobs overseas, not what to do about the declining middle class, not how to invest in renewable energy; no, the top priority will be partisan maneuvering with a presidential election as the goal.
We know the media, especially cable news, will aid and abet this gamesmanship and never-ending electioneering with breathless reporting of everything but news and facts creating context for the issues used as pawns for the perpetual campaign. (Prepare yourself for another year of hyper-partisan bickering devoid of fact and context on how to reform our broken health-care system.)
The permanent campaign profession is no longer just being practiced by political party machinery, candidates and their campaign strategists and consultants. Some media are active participants in the perpetual campaign, and they’re being fed a constant stream of material by a new industry of political pollsters, ideologically bent so-called think tanks, and paid partisan analysts telling us what the American people think and want and meant by their votes.
The media’s appetite for political narratives to report has created a number of “citizen-journalists” with an ideological purpose whose motives are suspect and who have now been caught deceptively editing both audio and video to create a story that never actually existed. The Internet now hosts commercially-profitable enterprises with political content that report rumors and insider speculation that advance a partisan view.
But all of it depends upon the American public paying enough attention to the perpetual campaign to justify their careers and provide their income. Let’s not. Let’s read a book. Walk the dog. Plant a garden. Let’s tune out the perpetual campaign and refuse to be their willing audience.
Want to know what really caused the Wall Street meltdown that former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said threatened a global collapse of the world’s financial markets? Want to know why Warren Buffett said Wall Street’s synthetic security derivatives created from mortgages were “financial weapons of mass destruction?” Pick up and read “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” by Michael Lewis, a former Wall Street trader and best-selling author.
Want to learn more about our health-care system and why health care in the U.S. costs so much more than other countries yet provides for fewer people? Read “Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much,” by Maggie Mahar. You’ll learn more from these two non-partisan books than you could possibly learn from the perpetual campaign in the next two years.
“An informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy.” — Thomas Jefferson.